Marcos Visit 2002
After weíd looked over the car and taken lots of photos, Ned asked if weíd like a ride.
Of course and Don and Mark let me take the first turn, or did I just move faster than them when the chance came? :^)
Getting into the passenger seat was fairly straightforward, but there didnít seem a great deal of space once there. Snug would be a good description.
Visibility was remarkably good. The windscreen and doors providing excellent views to the front and side and the perspex engine cover completed the near 360 degree vista, remarkably good by the standards of a road car, let alone a mid-engined racer.
The noise was incredible. Usually Iím not a great fan of V8s in road cars - the off beat rumble not having the same appeal as a 6 to me, but with no silencers to speak of, the Buick engine had a purposeful hardness to it, that sounded more race engine than road (I canít imagine the full race Brabham Repco F1 engine used in itís racing days could have sounded better). Once out of the tight, twisty lane leading to their house, Ned gave the engine some throttle and we surged forwarded on a wave of power and ever vocal revs.
At this point, we closed on some traffic and I had, for a brief moment, a concern as to how well the brakes and tyres on this little used car would react. I neednít have worried. The car slowed rapidly, smoothly and totally under control the moment Ned touched the brakes (It turned out that the tyres, at least, have been replaced in fairly recent years).
We pulled into a gas station for fuel. Each tank is separately filled, so Ned had to turn the wide car around to refuel it. As on the road, the car attracted incredible attention. I had to keep, mentally, pinching myself and remind myself that probably no-one looking at this totally unique car probably had a clue what it was.
Fancy turning up to your filling station with this?!? Needless to say, it attracted LOTS of attention.
Sitting at lights the temperature of the engine started to rise slightly, but back on the move the gauge returned to a healthy range and Ned was able to show off the carís prodigious performance. It wasnít hard to believe Tomís claim of 160 mph+. As we pulled into the final uphill turn into their home, Ned gave the throttle a poke and the only indication that the tail could be provoked into a slide was given, but a quick flick of the wrists lined the car up again, in an instant.
Once back, Mark Petrinovich climbed aboard and went out. Judging from his expression, heíd found the experience just as enjoyable as I had. A couple of friends of the Morrises also went out for rides in the car and you could hear the engine note long after the car disappeared from sight.
After a few trips, a puddle was noticed under the car and it turned out that the fuel tank had probably been overfilled and the fuel was running out of the overflow and down the wooden pontoons either side of the chassis and leaking out near the front.
Don was the last of our group to take a ride and when he returned he told us of his trip and how Ned had opened the car up on the freeway.
I'll let him explain it...
"My turn....... Off we went to the freeway. Typical Saturday
afternoon with normal traffic (except for us). The acceleration was
unreal. Don't think I've "merged" with traffic quite like that in
my life. Shortly I was wondering about my life insurance policy and
what the beneficiaries would be doing with the money. Oh hell, just
relax and enjoy.....what better way to go! Don't know the speed
(thank God) we were going but into the triple digits a ways. And
brakes???? Plenty!! Inboard discs all around stopped us right
before my heart reached my throat. Scary. Back to the house and
into my bag for a fresh set of underwear. Just babbling at this
point but loving every minute of it. Did I mention that the brake
fluid might have been 30 years old?? Thought crossed MY mind!"